How to Save Money on Back-to-School Supplies

Whitney Gordon
Whitney Gordon
Special Education and English teacher; Ed.S. in Teacher Leadership, Thomas University, GA

As teachers, we are notorious for dipping into our own pockets to furnish our classrooms with supplies. Amid planning for the new school year, you are likely trying to figure out how to fill your supply gap with coins from your own piggy bank. You are not alone. Teachers nationwide spend money on classroom supplies every year. When buying supplies for your classroom, however, you need not break the bank. Here are some ways that teachers can maximize their dollars when shopping for school supplies.

Take Advantage of Free Supplies

There’s no better way to save money than getting items for free. Many districts, businesses, and non-profits offer free supplies for teachers. Find out where free supplies are available in your area and participate to receive them. Furthermore, websites like provide a platform for teachers to solicit donations for classroom supplies, technology, and more.

Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is a great way to save in general, and school supplies are no exception. There are some things that you know you will need plenty of, and it is more cost-effective to buy a larger quantity of these items at once. Not only will this save you money, but it saves you from running out of necessary supplies down the line.

Buy Online

Online shopping is extremely prevalent these days. Many back-to-school sales are available online as well as in store. Imagine getting the same deals that your local store is offering, but without the hassle of braving the crowds to search through shelves and bins. Many stores even offer free shipping to your local store, so you only have to pick the items up. Furthermore, offers great deals on school supplies. Amazon even offers their own line of supplies, Amazon Basics, that is affordable and has many positive reviews.

The Dollar Store is Your Friend

Discount “Dollar Store”-type shops will always be my secret school-supply weapon. There are many discount stores around, but Dollar Tree happens to be my personal favorite. At Dollar Tree, everything is $1 or less. They carry all the typical school supplies as well as teacher decoration materials. They also carry other supplies that teachers may use, such as storage containers, mason jars, and cleaning supplies. One thing I love about Dollar Tree is that they always have random, surprising deals throughout the year. Checking Dollar Tree periodically will save you a good bit of money.

Don’t Fear Office Supply Stores

Don’t neglect large office supply retailers such as Office Depot and Staples for fear that their supplies are too expensive. They, too, have back-to-school sales that feature awesome deals. Pay attention to print and online advertisements for deals.

Back to school shopping can be stressful for teachers. We are an anomaly: Professionals who fund their profession. The key is to shop smart and use your resources.

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